Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How the Rich got Richer, and the Middle Class Disappeared

   The year 1994 started out with some pretty bold and encouraging claims and promises from the Federal Government; most notably, Bill Clinton. The North American Free Trade Agreement was ratified by Congress. This Trade Treaty was supposed to put the United States on a long road of wealth and prosperity. Our Middle Class was to be forever cemented as the vast foundation of our Economy and Society.
   It turns out that we were sold a bill of goods. It was all lies. There was no misunderstanding, no misinterpretation, just lies. Our exports to Mexico were supposed to almost double overnight: lie. We were to gain 1 Million jobs in the Manufacturing Sector every year: lie. This was a mutually exclusive Treaty: lie. In fact, our import/export figures with Mexico went in exactly the opposite direction. We started hemorrhaging jobs at the very rate we were supposed to gain. Along came the DR-CAFTA (Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement), and the FTAA (Free Trade Agreement of the Americas). 1993-94 are the years that signaled the start of the decline in our Middle Class; the folks who used to make this Country function as an economic super power.
   Almost all of that is gone now, not even 20 years later, and the jobs that have been lost, or sent offshore, are not returning. Corporations, large and small, delighted in expansive tax incentives to do their business outside the confines of this Country. Isn’t it a little ironic that the people who so loudly claim hatred of the welfare state themselves drink mightily from the very same welfare trough? Why would obviously well educated, highly regarded champions of Industry and Finance knowingly put themselves on the same level as any other recipient of Government aide?  

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